How to turn an android phone into a universal remote control

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Jide Mbaka

How to turn an android phone into a universal remote control

The smartphone is really smart, no jokes. It however will take a very smart person to figure out all of its uses and properly utilize it. Using it as a remote controller is one of the really smart things your phone can do, but maybe you didn’t know that. If you want to find out how to turn your android phone into a universal remote, then keep reading.

Note first that you need to have a device that is compatible with IR remotes, like a Smart TV, as well as an android phone that has the capabilities. You will see more about this as you read further.

Use your built-in Infrared (IR) Blaster

What is an IR blaster? The Infrared (IR) blaster is hardware that allows you to send commands from your phone, and have them converted to infrared rays or signals to control another device such as a television, DVD, Stereo, or set-top box that is compatible with IR remotes. This is the key ingredient to turn the android phone into a universal remote.

The hardware cannot be downloaded so your phone either has it or it does not. If your device has it, you can then install a compatible app from the play store. If it does not, you can purchase a device called “IR blaster” from sites like Amazon and eBay.

To know if you have the IR blaster on your device;

  • Launch Google Play on your device and search for IR test > Click install > Give it a minute to install and then Tap Open
  • Once it opens, it will analyze your device and either tell you if your device has an IR blaster or not.

Here is how to install IR blaster on android right away and get started.

  • Launch Google Playstore on your device and search for “IR blaster.”
  • Check the mobile remote apps and pick one with a good review/rating which is also compatible with your device. There are many free and paid apps and some are for specific brands. Be sure to read the app's description before installing.
  • Install it > launch the App
  • Select your IR blaster when prompted (you only have to do this the first time you use it)
  • Follow the prompts and grant permissions when asked
  • Select the manufacturer and the model you want to control. Most apps come with a built-in list of supported audio and video devices from which you can choose.
  • Depending on the app you're using, you may be asked to enter a universal code for the component. If you have the programming manual for your remote, it will include groups of codes for various branded devices, or you may do an online search for the codes for your particular device.
  • Once you choose your model, your app will display some instructions for linking it to the app.
  • Finish the setup and this will turn the android phone into a universal remote and you can now control your devices with a tap. You can test the functions starting with the power button

Use the Easy Universal TV Remote

The Universal remote app on Android is considered a bit easier than other remote TV apps but again it is not applicable on all phones. For devices where it is compatible, you can use it to turn an android phone into a universal remote control.

  • Launch your Google play store, search for the Easy Universal TV Remote app and Install it
  • Go to Settings > Among the options IR port, IR Blaster, or WiFi, select WiFi >
  • Enter the IP address of your Smart TV and ensure that your TV is connected to the same WiFi > Choose the brand of TV and set it up.
  • Check the WIFi signal on your android.
  • Turn on the TV from Power IR - Universal Remote Control application or the original plastic. remote
  • You are ready to use the phone as a TV remote

Use an external pairing device

You may be able to use an external pairing device to turn an Android phone into a universal remote, but most of the options are particular to iPhones. However, the Logitech Harmony Hub is one option that works for both Android and Apple devices and enables you to connect using IR, Bluetooth or WiFi. You have to first purchase the hardware on any online store like Amazon.

The steps may slightly differ from phone to phone but here are the general steps.

  • Connect the micro USB power from your device to the back of the hub. Allow 30 seconds to 1 minute for it to fully boot up.
  • Go to play store > search the Harmony app > Install and launch the app
  • Select "Set Up New Hub" > Select the WiFi network for the Hub to connect to > enter the WiFi password
  • Sign in or create a new Harmony account
  • Select "Add as new remote" if you are using it for the first time
  • The hub will detect devices that are controllable via IP commands. Select "Add Device" to add other devices > Enter the Manufacturer Name and Model Number
  • The app will suggest that you create certain activities from the added devices. Explore them and choose. You can create activities in which you can control multiple devices through a single interface, and even change channels, navigate, raise/lower the volume.
  • if you are looking for how to control ac with the android phone, harmony hub can do that and also become your cell phone tv remote control. However, it is not compatible with some smart home devices.

If you are looking for how to use your phone to control TV sets even without wifi, then you can use the Bluetooth option instead of WiFi.

Use manufacturer apps

There are a couple of manufacturer apps you can use to turn an android phone into a universal remote. For instance brands like LG, Samsung, Sony may have their own proprietary apps — no IR technology needed. In this case, the home device and your phone have to be of the same brand.

  • Note that you will have to connect your phone and the appliances to the same WiFi network
  • You will also need to download a different app for each device you want to control remotely. Check for the apps that work with your manufacturer/brand.
  • You cannot integrate all the apps into a universal remote.

Use an infrared adapter

This is also known as an IR adapter and it is the more common solution for devices like iPhones and iPads which do not have an IR blaster. However, it does not apply to android phones.